Soldiers diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or other psychological disorders should be eligible to receive the purple heart, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) said in its report "Parity for Patriots" on Friday.
According to the report, 20 percent of active duty service members experience symptoms of PTSD. Effects of the disorder include drug/alcohol abuse, depression and suicide.
One active duty soldier takes his or her own life every 36 hours and one veteran every 80 minutes. In the first 155 days of 2012, 154 U.S. soldiers committed suicide, more than twice the amount killed in Afghanistan, the Pentagon confirmed. Considering these statistics, the NAMI study says "invisible" scars are as tangible as visible ones.
"NAMI is drawing a line in the sand with the Department of Defense," said NAMI Executive Director Michael J. Fitzpatrick. "Troops with invisible wounds are heroes. It's time to honor them. It will also strike a tremendous blow against the stigma that often discourages individuals from seeking help when they need it."
NAMI is the nation's largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness.
by RTT Staff Writer
For comments and feedback: firstname.lastname@example.org